The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLVIII-2-2024
11 Jun 2024
 | 11 Jun 2024

The Legacy of Sycamore Gap: The Potential of Photogrammetric AI for Reverse Engineering Lost Heritage with Crowdsourced Data

Luca Morelli, Gabriele Mazzacca, Pawel Trybała, Federica Gaspari, Francesco Ioli, Zhenyu Ma, Fabio Remondino, Keith Challis, Andrew Poad, Alex Turner, and Jon P. Mills

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Crowdsourcing, Lost heritage, Natural heritage, Deep learning, Image matching, Photogrammetry

Abstract. The orientation of crowdsourced and multi-temporal image datasets presents a challenging task for traditional photogrammetry. Indeed, traditional image matching approaches often struggle to find accurate and reliable tie points in images that appear significantly different from one another. In this paper, in order to preserve the memory of the Sycamore Gap tree, a symbol of Hadrian's Wall that was felled in an act of vandalism in September 2023, deep-learning-based features trained specifically on challenging image datasets were employed to overcome limitations of traditional matching approaches. We demonstrate how unordered crowdsourced images and UAV videos can be oriented and used for 3D reconstruction purposes, together with a recently acquired terrestrial laser scanner point cloud for scaling and referencing. This allows the memory of the Sycamore Gap tree to live on and exhibits the potential of photogrammetric AI (Artificial Intelligence) for reverse engineering lost heritage.